Moving to Reading

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 26, 2002
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Somewhere out there
Hello all,

There is a potential for a transfer from the US to a company in Reading.

I was wondering if anyone had input on some good places to look for housing, what to expect for cost of living, and any surprises to look out for when trying to survive in the UK.

Fuel prices are well known over here, but I have a VW Bora TDI that gets 43 MPG, so I should be good.

Thinking about moving to Swindon due to the lower house costs.. but looking at a map may be misleading..

Thx,

Max.
 

brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
1,701
0
Nottingham
maxvamp said:
Fuel prices are well known over here, but I have a VW Bora TDI that gets 43 MPG, so I should be good.
Nice car :)
Thinking about moving to Swindon due to the lower house costs.. but looking at a map may be misleading..
Don't let the absurdity lead you to believe it's not true, there is an absolute chasm between north and south house prices and living costs.

To put it in perspective; our student house (4 sharing) pulls in £1100/month for our landlord. My partner and I have been told by relatives back home (in the Midlands) that their mortgages are significantly lower than the price we pay - just us, discounting the other half of the monthly rent. Friends in Sheffield, Lancashire, are paying around 1/4 of the amount we are monthly.

It is also true that the closer to London you get, the higher total living costs rise. Food, discounting large-chain supermarkets with standardised prices, is more expensive. "Going down the pub" - an essential British exercise - will probably be around 50% more expensive in and around London than it is in Nottingham; move to Yorkshire and above, and the price drops. It's quite scary.

Basically, if you have a reason to be down south, ie. your salary is good enough to handle it, or you're here for an "experience", you're sorted. If salary isn't location determined, stay away from the south!
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
Possible surprises may include:

• TV Licence
• Council tax
• Car insurance
• Road tax
• Service charges on restaurant bills with smaller portions than US
• 'European' lager that is actually brewed in the UK (e.g. Grolsch)...
• Ferocious competition for the 'right' kind of school for kids
• Rudeness & snobbery masked as politeness
• More expensive (virtually) everything
 

Savage Henry

macrumors 65816
Blue Velvet said:
• Service charges on restaurant bills with smaller portions than US
Most of the restaurants in Reading are quite abysmal and aren't worth the service charge ... so you shouldn't feel embarrassed about not tipping.


[Flame retardant clause: I said 'most'.... there are a couple of restaurants in the Reading area that are excellent ... but they are seriously rare]
 

brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
1,701
0
Nottingham
wowser said:
Just to clear up - you do realise that Sheffield is in Yorkshire, don't you?
Haha... History, not Geography ;)

I always, always thought that Sheffield was the other side! Comes with not having one of these fancy automobile things... my family are all Yorkshire, I'd get slapped if they read that :eek:
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
Possible surprises may include:

• TV Licence
• Council tax
• Car insurance
• Road tax
• Service charges on restaurant bills with smaller portions than US
• 'European' lager that is actually brewed in the UK (e.g. Grolsch)...
• Ferocious competition for the 'right' kind of school for kids
• Rudeness & snobbery masked as politeness
• More expensive (virtually) everything
So what are the positive virtues of England then?

Also, what is Swindon like?

Max.
 

wowser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2004
895
0
Inglaterra, Europa
positives? *scratches head* Hmm...We have nicer supermarkets, i suppose, and our TV is better. I think that's about it. People who emmigrate here seeem to like it though :)
 

Savage Henry

macrumors 65816
maxvamp said:
So what are the positive virtues of England then?

Also, what is Swindon like?
  • TV and radio channels without commercials
  • Micro-breweries
  • Security checks at airports don't involve the compulsory smashing opening the luggage of all passengers
  • Bovril
  • The manual-speed gearbox
  • Blackwell's, in Oxford, the World's largest bookshop
  • You are never more than 90 miles from a beach
  • The expression " you're avvin a laarrrff "
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • .... err ...that's it ... for now.
 

MemphisSoulStew

macrumors regular
May 10, 2004
174
0
UK
maxvamp said:
Also, what is Swindon like?
Max.
Not nice - stay near Reading. Also, living in Swindon would mean a 70 mile a day round trip commute to work, and that's no fun.

Reading town itself is very busy and you wouldn't want to live in the town, but there are some nice villages within a 5-10 mile radius. You're better off looking south, north and west of town. East of town is more built up with business parks.

The towns along the Thames are generally very nice - Sonning is a gorgeous little village but very expensive; Pangbourne, Goring and Streatley are nice little towns as well.

There's a list here of estate agents in Reading which will give you an idea of property prices.
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
maxvamp said:
So what are the positive virtues of England then?

Also, what is Swindon like?

Max.
To my mind, some of the positive virtues are:

• Cheap flights to European destinations (weekend break in Barcelona, no probs)
• A genuinely tolerant society relatively free from overbearing & suffocating religiosity.
• Independent and healthily sceptical media with some of the best of US TV (mostly HBO stuff) in case you get homesick.
• Home to one of the great cities of the world -- London with everything that it has to offer.
• Fantastic landscape gardens, interesting architecture and tons of history.
• An incredibly varied music, art & cultural scene.
• Generally, the English have a great sense of humour if you can handle irony, sarcasm with a strong streak of cynicism & surrealism. Great standup comedy scene.
• The National Health Service (it gets a lot of flak but compared to many other places in the world, it's OK)
• Few guns... the chance of a colleague going 'postal' is remote.
• The weather is not that bad. You are extremely unlikely to get 12 foot snowfalls, nor huge tornadoes...
• More public (bank) & work holiday allowance per year than the average American worker (I believe)

There's loads more. After all, I moved to the UK 15 years ago so it must have its good points...

:)
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,652
123
wowser said:
Should read - all culture being squeezed out by Chavs
An example of a major downside: In England, no discussion of society seems possible without the inevitable reference to class and how superior you feel relative to those you perceive as being 'beneath' you...
 

wowser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2004
895
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Inglaterra, Europa
Blue Velvet said:
An example of a major downside: In England, no discussion of society seems possible without the inevitable reference to class and how superior you feel relative to those you perceive as being 'beneath' you...
I'm not talking about class, here. I'm talking about a particular culture.
 

MOFS

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2003
1,204
144
Durham, UK
UK AOK.

wowser said:
positives? *scratches head* Hmm...We have nicer supermarkets, i suppose, and our TV is better. I think that's about it. People who emmigrate here seeem to like it though :)
Asda's a division of Wal*Mart so as an American maxvamp I'll leave that up to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not...

TV - good - try Channel 4 for the news (50min bulletin with 8mins of ads) and british comedies - Spaced (makers of Shaun of the Dead essentially), Black Books and Teachers are all really good.
The weathers not that bad really - not too cold (not too hot either), and it doesn't rain as much as the movies like to portray.
And not everyone speaks with either a cockney or a posh accent (unlike what Frasier and Hugh Grant films try to portray :mad:
Not everyone is from London. :rolleyes:

(NB: A recent poll of a set of Americans (can't remember what group) came out in the Observer claiming that their average image of Britain was essentially a rainy Hugh Grant movie :eek: Obviously you don't think that)

PS: wowser - what's your 'tar? Very cute it is, hmmm!
 

wowser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2004
895
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Inglaterra, Europa
MOFS said:
Not everyone is from London. :rolleyes:
Seconded! lol

Supermarkets - compare Sainsbury's or Boothes or Tesco to somewhere like VONS in California - Us Brits win, here.

MOFS said:
PS: wowser - what's your 'tar? Very cute it is, hmmm!
I'm glad it is noticed - it is a capybara (or a stuffed toy version). They are native to South America and are very cute! Here is a real one:




... apologies if the pic looks out of place in a thread about England
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 26, 2002
600
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Somewhere out there
Thanks for the tips folks.

If it helps, I am not totally ignorant of the English culture.

I have been to several towns in England many years ago, and figured out that ordering iced tea was a bad thing. I also aquired a fondness for Wimpy burgers, even if it was somewhat unhealthy. I have an extreme fondness for British comedy and cut my teeth on Derek and Clive . Most here don't find that funny, but sick!!

Don't worry, I am aware that there is more to England than Ms. Brahms ( AYBS? ), and that damn Bucket woman ( Keeping up Appearances )..

I have to ask though,

If one were to get a job in Reading, and needed to find a 3 bedroom place for around 700 - 800 pcm, to what town would you look? I need a place to host my award winning candlelight suppers. <grin>

Max.
 

russed

macrumors 68000
Jan 16, 2004
1,613
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i have only been to swindon once. its wasnt very nice. it was absoloutly chucking it down (probably didnt help my opinion of it) oh and i had to stand outside in it! (i was on work experience surveying a plot of land).

despite what people say above. it does rain lots! well i think i am further north than other people though. but it is nicer up here! less chavs and actually some culture!
 

wowser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2004
895
0
Inglaterra, Europa
maxvamp said:
Thanks for the tips folks.

If it helps, I am not totally ignorant of the English culture.

I have been to several towns in England many years ago, and figured out that ordering iced tea was a bad thing. I also aquired a fondness for Wimpy burgers, even if it was somewhat unhealthy. I have an extreme fondness for British comedy and cut my teeth on Derek and Clive . Most here don't find that funny, but sick!!

Don't worry, I am aware that there is more to England than Ms. Brahms ( AYBS? ), and that damn Bucket woman ( Keeping up Appearances )..

I have to ask though,

If one were to get a job in Reading, and needed to find a 3 bedroom place for around 700 - 800 pcm, to what town would you look? I need a place to host my award winning candlelight suppers. <grin>

Max.
Boy, you went to England ages ago!